Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see.
Stewart was an amazing person - A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle. He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and is missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good. We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer. If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3 .
If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent. It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/heartbroken-widow-geraldine-smith-raises-3452997
Similarly, if you haven’t heard it, please listen to Geraldine’s moving radio interview which was on Radio Scotland recently.
Stewart began writing The Grambler when he was between procedures and hoping for some form of recovery. He loved all aspects of football and was a lifelong Motherwell supporter. His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige. Read on and enjoy…
Before you read this week’s rant, please take a moment to watch a short news item. Once again, doctors decided that somebody couldn’t possibly have bowel cancer because they were too young. This is why thegrambler.com continues week in, week out. Hopefully, you will enjoy the daft articles, the clips or the predictions, but always, always, consider the serious message behind the blog... Bowel cancer can hit anyone, no matter how young or old; it is a horrible disease and, if it isn’t treated early enough, a killer. It is the third most commonly occurring cancer in Scotland, accounting for nearly 12% of cancer cases. One eighth of all cancers found; that is a huge proportion. And yet, it is still overlooked by doctors unaware that it is not restricted to the over fifties. If you ever feel that you have symptoms which might be bowel cancer, demand, yes, demand to be checked out.
Right. Lecture over. Now let’s get on with the usual mince.
I've mentioned certain jobsworths in this blog before. You know, those people who will not deviate from any rule or regulation no matter how sensible it might be to do so. I have just met another one and it won't come as much of a surprise when I tell you that she is, that most jobsworthy of jobsworths, a doctor's receptionist.
I needed to make an appointment to see a doctor. I had already been through that ritual of phoning the surgery at one second past half past eight on the morning to find that every line was engaged. By the time I actually got through, some 87 redials (seriously) later, every appointment for the day had been allocated.
I tried a different approach. First thing in the morning, I visited the surgery. My thinking was that, if I couldn't get through on the phone, I couldn't be ignored if I was standing in front of the receptionist. Wrong. Several people were busy answering phone calls while I waited. And waited. And waited. I felt like Peter Brady (ask your dad).
Eventually, after about ten minutes of being ignored, somebody put down the phone and addressed me,
'Can I help you?'
'I'd like to make an appointment.'
'You'll have to phone at half past eight in the morning.'
'I've tried that and couldn't get through. Can't you give me an appointment here and now?'
'I'm not allowed to.'
'It's how our system works.'
'But it obviously isn't working. Can't you make an exception?'
'If I did that for you, I'd have to do it for everyone.'
'No you wouldn't. I'm the only one here asking you to make an exception.'
'Sorry I can't do that. Our system doesn't allow it.'
'Of course it would. I won't tell anybody.'
'I'm sorry. I can't do that. The system...'
'...I know. Doesn't allow it.'
'And besides, all the appointments are full.'
'I might have known. Have you got appointments available tomorrow?'
'Well, I'll have one of those then.'
'I'm sorry. I can't do that. You'll have to phone for an appointment at half past eight tomorrow morning.'
'But, I'm here now. Pretend I am making a phone call and you give me an appointment.'
'I can't do that. The system doesn't allow it.'
You may have heard my scream of anguish at that point.
Okay, they have a system in place. That's great. It means that those who need urgent attention can be seen. However, they ought to be able to allow a few appointment slots for non-urgent cases.
The receptionist told me there was a system. She told me how it works. She told me how to use it. What she didn't explain was why it was so important that it had to be adhered to no matter what.
My own take on the matter is that it needn't be so strictly adhered to. Having encountered this particular lady on numerous occasions, I know just how jobsworthy she can be...
'There is an item on my repeat prescription list that hasn't been updated correctly; can I get a prescription from you?'
'You have to phone the automated prescription line.'
'I have done. It doesn't allow for any changes.'
'I'm sorry, but that is the way the system works. I can't change it.'
'Surely, there is some way of me getting the correct medication.'
'I'll do it for you this time, but I can't do it again. And don't call me Shirley.'
Okay, she didn't say that last bit... more than her jobs worth to inject some humour into proceedings.
That is how the woman works. It is her little bit of power. She always likes to put obstacles in the way of everything. Then, she pretends that she is doing you some sort of favour by acceding to your request.
The next time I had a similar problem, a different person answered the phone and made the change without any suggestion that it was problematic.
I would suggest that Mrs Jobsworth, by being so inflexible, is not a benefit to the practice but an actual hindrance. By putting barriers up when anyone asks for something, she is probably carrying out only half the tasks her fellow workers do.
I think a wee link to finish might be a good idea. Here is the blueprint for a typical doctor's receptionist... None shall pass. Those who don’t like a bit of good old black comedy, look away now. .
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or notorious people born on the 13th of April? Of course, here are some I’ve even heard of. Guy Fawkes 1570 (Please come back. We need you.), Thomas Jefferson 1743 (The well-known president. Invented the airplane, or was it starship?), Richard Trevithick 1771 (Steam locomotive pioneer.), Alexander Mitchell 1780 (Invented the screw-pile lighthouse [Sounds painful... Oh, I didn’t see the word lighthouse. - Ed.], Josephine Butler 1828 (Feminist and social reformer. She campaigned for women’s suffrage, the right of women to better education, the abolition of child prostitution and an end to human trafficking of young women and children into European prostitution. Well, thank goodness we’ve come so far and over 150 years after her campaigns such barbaric practices no longer exis... hang on.), Frank Winfield Woolworth 1852 (Shopkeeper.), Robert Parker 1866 (Who? Better known as Butch Cassidy. Looked nothing like Paul Newman.), Arthur Harris 1892 (Head of RAF Bomber Command during WWII. Known as ‘Bomber’ to the press and ‘Butcher’ within the RAF.), Robert Watson-Watt 1892 (Radar pioneer.), Alfred Butts 1899 (Inventor of Scrabble. His middle name was M3O1S1H4E1R1.), Philippe de Rothschild 1902 (Racey car drivery type bloke, screenwriter and playwright, theatrical producer, film producer, poet, and one of the most successful wine growers in the world. If you are expecting me to call him a right old smarty boots, I’m not going to. He came from a wealthy family; he did the sort of things coming from a wealthy family allows you to do. I wonder if he was any of those things... apart from the wine part.), Samuel Beckett 1906 (Wroiter.), Lawrence ‘Bud’ Freeman 1906 (Musician. Here’s your first clip of the week... a bit of a slippery customer.), Howard Keel 1919 (Ectaw and chanter. Another clip? All together now... Bless your beautiful hahd...), John Braine 1922 (Orfer and angry young man.), Julius Nyerere 1922 (The well-known president.), Don Adams 1923 (Ectaw. Maxwell Smart. That was him.), Stanley Donen 1924 (Jigger.), Alan Clark 1928 (Car-mad politician.), Dan Gurney 1931 (Racey car drivery bloke that could pull horrible faces.), Edward Fox 1937 (Ectaw. Dave the jackal. That was him.), Seamus Heaney 1939 (Wroiter.), Philip Norman 1943 (Orfer.), Jack Casady 1944 (A bit of Jefferson Airplane. Another clip? Here’s somebody to love.), Lowell George 1945 (A little foot. Here’s another clip. Time for the rock and roll doctor.), Al Green 1946 (Singer who’s tired of being alone.), Mike Chapman 1947 (Half of the songwriting machine known as ‘Chinnichap’. Here’s some girls. [Here are some girls, I think that should read. - Ed.]), Christopher Hitchins 1949 (Orfer.), Ron Perlman 1950 (Ectaw. Hellboy. That was him.), Peabu Bryson 1951 (Chanter. If ever you’re in his arms again, you’ll be able to sing this in Portuguese.), Peter Davison 1951 (Ectaw. The fifth... no, sixth... no, definitely fifth Doctor Who.), Jonjo O’Neill 1952 (Horse racey bloke.), Stephen Byers 1953 (Politician.), Jimmy Destri 1954 (A bit of Blondie. Here’s a video of Atomic... Jimmy’s the one pretending to push keys on the synthesizer.), Louis Johnson 1955 (Bassist for Brothers Johnson. Known as ‘Thunder Thumbs’. Let’s have a Stomp!), Rudi Völler 1960 (Fußballer. Known as Aunt Käthe.), Hillel Slovak 1962 (The original geetarist with Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Let’s funk... I said funk... Red Hot! Chileeee! Peperzzzz!), Garry Kasparov 1963 (Chess player... erm... that’s it.), Davis Love 1964 (Golfy bloke.), John Swinney 1964 (Politician.), Ricky Schroder 1970 (Ectaw. Dolly Parton’s dad.), Lou Bega 1975 (Singer. Here’s his hit. You know this one.), Carles Puyol 1978 (Futbolista.) and Jason Maguire 1980 (Horse racey bloke.).
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Mr Ewekdobbelaar,
I was surprised that you played the earliest hit that Jefferson Airplane had rather than the more famous Alice in Wonderland song. It was all about drugs and things like that. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the title... Perhaps it’s the drugs.
Yours something or otherly,
Let’s move onto grambling matters. What happened a week ago? A total of only 72 pees back from our £2.20 stake money. Rubbish or what? What happened? Read on...
Fleetwood Town vs Southend - Prediction Home win
Result - Fleetwood Town 2 Southend United 2
Ooh! ’It the bar!
Fleetwood Town twice fought back from behind to deny Southend victory.
Southend opened the scoring in the 20th minute as Harry Bunn capitalised on a defensive error.
Fleetwood came out fighting in the second half with substitutes Ash Hunter and Ashley Nadesan making an impact.
Paddy Madden was thwarted by the toe of Shrimpers keeper Nathan Bishop and Hunter's corner crashed onto the bar.
Town got their goal minutes later as Nadesan's delightful ball split open Southend's defence to send Ched Evans clear and he finished well.
Southend's Luke Hyam gave the Shrimpers the lead again in the 81st minute when Fleetwood failed to clear a free-kick.
However, Evans scored from the spot after Madden was ruled to have been fouled by Harry Lennon in the box.
Luton vs Blackpool - Prediction Home win
Result - Luton Town 2 Blackpool 2
Ooh! ’It the bar!
In the first half, Town took the lead after six minutes when Kazenga LuaLua's low cross was swept home by James Collins.
Blackpool levelled on the half-hour when Nya Kirby volleyed home from 20 yards.
After the break, Hatters goalkeeper James Shea made an excellent save from Armand Gnanduillet's header.
Luton were dealt a huge blow when Collins was sent off on the hour after picking up two yellows in two minutes, the second a lunging challenge on Matty Virtue.
Blackpool took immediate advantage with Virtue hammering home from a corner just 60 seconds later.
Shea saved crucially from Gnanduillet, before substitute Jason Cummings ensured Luton picked up a draw, while fellow sub George Moncur almost won it at the death.
Peterborough vs Gillingham - Prediction Home win
Result - Peterborough United 2 Gillingham 0
Marcus Maddison's penalty after 57 minutes was a rare note of goalmouth action in a match lacking quality, with goalkeeper Tomas Holy sent the wrong way from 12 yards after Siriki Dembele was adjudged to have been fouled by Max Ehmer.
The Gills goalkeeper had been alert earlier in the match to save with his legs from Ivan Toney, while - just before half-time - the visitors' top scorer Tom Eaves had a header tipped round the post by Aaron Chapman.
Matt Godden sealed the win with five minutes remaining, flicking the ball onto Maddison who squared it back to the striker for a simple finish.
Rochdale vs Sunderland - Prediction Away win
Result - Rochdale 1 Sunderland 2
The Black Cats had to come from behind to secure the three points, Charlie Wyke having cancelled out Ian Henderson's first-half opener for the home side.
Sunderland started the stronger of the teams and it took a superb save from home goalkeeper Josh Lillis to keep out a Will Grigg effort.
But Dale took the lead against the run of play in the 27th minute when Henderson collected Joe Bunney's centre and fired past Jon McLaughlin.
Lillis produced yet another fine save four minutes before the break when Max Power's curling effort threatened to sneak into the top corner of his goal.
However, the visitors levelled 10 minutes into the second half when Wyke turned Jim McNulty and slotted home.
And the Black Cats' turnaround was complete in the 88th minute when Bryan Oviedo's persistence on the right paid off, his delivery into the six-yard area turned home by substitute George Honeyman.
Shrewsbury vs Scunthorpe - Prediction Home win
Result - Shrewsbury 1 Scunthorpe 1
Ooh! ’It the bar!
Shrewsbury's Greg Docherty had an early chance when his shot was well kept out by the feet of Scunthorpe goalkeeper Jak Alnwick.
The visitors took the lead in the 22nd minute as Tony McMahon's cross from the right was headed home by Kyle Wootton.
James Bolton then headed wide for the hosts and Omar Beckles was denied by a goal-line clearance from James Perch.
Lee Novak came close to doubling Scunthorpe's lead in the second half when his header was tipped over by goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell.
Shrewsbury kept pushing forward in search of an equaliser and it came in the 84th minute as Shaun Whalley's inviting low cross from the right went in off Adam Hammill.
How unlucky is that? Three ’It the bars. Let’s see if The Grambler can improve on that this week. What has he/she/it predicted for us?
Game - Prediction - Odds
Burnley vs Cardiff - Prediction Home win - 5/6
Aston Villa vs Bristol City - Prediction Home win - 10/11
Middlesbrough vs Hull - Prediction Home win - 19/20
Sheffield Utd vs Millwall - Prediction Home win - 8/13
West Brom vs Preston - Prediction Home win - 10/11
The bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator) and if they all go according to The Grambler’s Prediction, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping...
A smidgen more whopping than last week.
Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you to work out some football teams’ nicknames. How did you get on?
West Bromwich Albion - The Baggies (or The Throstles, or Albion)
Sheffield United - The Blades (or Red and White Wizards)
Fleetwood Town - The Fishermen (or The Trawlermen)
Scunthorpe United - The Iron
York City - The Minstermen
Derby County - The Rams
Reading - The Royals
Bury - The Shakers
Blackpool - The Seasiders (or The ‘Pool, or The Tangerines)
Burnley - The Clarets
Too easy? What about one for this week? Name all the teams that have won the Premier League since its inception. Another easy one, I reckon.
As usual (at the risk of repeating myself), I remind you of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer. If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration. Just point your doctor in the direction of http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/campaigns-policy/latest-campaigns/never-too-young-campaign
And finally Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. L. Johnson and his brother who provide us with an interesting image to end this week’s edition. It’s a while since we had a dodgy album cover; does this count?
Unusual album cover from George aka 'Lightnin' Licks'
and Louis aka 'Thunder Thumbs'.
That’s all for this week folks, but remember you can read the musings of The Grambler every week by going to the blog at www.thegrambler.com